Hello everyone! As a quick introduction, my name is Rhiannon and I am a Philosophy, Politics, Economics & Law (PPEL) major and Journalism minor at the University of Richmond (UR) and I decided to study abroad in India because this multicultural, multilingual country with a mix of rich history and vibrant modernity has always fascinated me.
In a few days, I will be traveling to Hyderabad, a large city in southern India known for its old Nazim palace, its “cyberabad” district (home to Google, Microsoft, and many other multinational corporations), and its Hyderabadi Biryani, one of the spiciest dishes in India. I will be in Hyderabad for five months, studying at a university, taking basic Hindi, and traveling to as many corners of India as I possibly can in my short visit.
People have been asking me for a while now if I am nervous to go to India. I am not really nervous, but I am anxious to get there because preparing and packing is the hard part! I know that most of the things I need will be very accessible in Hyderabad (with the exception of peanut butter, good coffee, and stick deodorant), but I am worried about what to bring nonetheless.
I want to pack lightly, but my study abroad program in India has been sending our group long packing lists and suggestions for the past few months. What’s worse, my doctor and my family have provided me with an entire pharmacy to carry with me, and I am so confused about what to wear that I have drastically overpacked in the clothes department. But I keep telling myself, it’s “better safe than sorry” in my book.
So it looks like I won’t be packing as lightly as I had hoped.
Up until this point, preparation for my five-month trip to India has been dominated by passport and visa applications, immunization shots, vitamin shopping, Bollywood and Tollywood films on YouTube, and scavenging through my clothes for light, cool clothing to wear in the Indian summer.
Most of all, I have been bombarded with a wide range of reactions when I tell people that I am going to India for five months. “It’ll be hot,” “don’t drink the water,” and “BE SAFE” top the list of most common reactions, especially after recent media coverage of the Delhi rape case, the bombing in Hyderabad, and a few others. I am taking these into account as I prepare for my trip, but I am confident that they won’t take away from my experience in India.
I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences this semester with you!